It was one of those days when I was fumbling around in prayer, trying to focus and not really knowing what to say. My heart was a jumble of mixed emotions over the release of the Philadelphia Grand Jury Report and the flood of posts and articles on the sexual abuse scandal as well as some personal issues with which I was wrestling. I’d start, stop, start again, stop again. Even the Rosary – normally my go-to for gaining focus and clarity – was ineffective. How do you pray about something so unimaginably heinous?
Finally, I decided to turn to Scripture. The best thing I could do was to shut my mouth, open my heart, and just listen to – or read, as the case may be – what God might have to say to me.
Sitting in our prayer corner, I opened my Bible to a random page and found this:
Song of Trust in God Alone
My soul rests in God alone,
from whom comes my salvation.
God alone is my rock and salvation,
my fortress; I shall never fall.
How long will you set yourself against a man?
You shall all be destroyed,
Like a sagging wall
or a tumbled down fence!
Even highly placed people
plot to overthrow him.
They delight in lies;
they bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.
My soul, be at rest in God alone,
from whom comes my hope.
God alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not fall.
My deliverance and honor are with God,
my strong rock;
my refuge is with God.
Trust God at all times, my people!
Pour out your hearts to God our refuge!
Mortals are a mere breath,
the sons of man but an illusion;
On a balance they rise;
together they weigh nothing.
Do not trust in extortion;
in plunder put no empty hope.
On wealth that increases,
do not set your heart.
One thing God has said;
two things I have heard:
Strength belongs to God;
so too, my Lord, does mercy,
For you repay each man
according to his deeds. (Ps 62)
Strength and mercy belong to God and he will repay everyone according to their deeds. I need to be reminded of that during times such as these. My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope. That’s really the main point in all of this, isn’t it?
Since the news broke, I’ve been grappling with what I should say to my adult children and children-in-law about the scandal. I grapple with the idea of a new grandchild soon to be baptized into a Church that is marred with gaping wounds. I grapple with the reality that there are holy, upright, and devout priests, bishops, deacons, and seminarians who live their vocations purely and heroically — yet are left to clean up the fester that has burst forth from the wounds.
But, reading Psalm 62 brought me back to the realization that I love the Catholic Church because it is the Mystical Body of Christ. It’s Christ’s Church, and I believe all its teachings with all my mind and heart. It put my faith in the Church, not because of who wears the vestments, but because it is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Yes, there are practical things that must be done to cleanse and heal the wound and prevent it from recurring. But ultimately, God will repay each man according to his deeds. As for me, my children and grandchildren, we must rest our souls in God who is our rock, our salvation, our fortress.
Copyright 2018 Marge Fenelon